The entrance to the Department of History’s office in Sidney Smith Hall

Adrian De Leon

PhD Program


Adrian De Leon studies race, indigeneity, and industrial capitalism in the Philippines and its transpacific diasporas. After graduating with an Honours BA in English Literature at the University of Toronto Scarborough, Adrian began a direct-entry PhD program in the Department of History, under the supervision of Daniel Bender and Takashi Fujitani. His dissertation project, “In the Image of Industry: Northern Luzon and the Making of Filipino America” investigates how Spanish and American imperial practices of capitalist development in Luzon's agricultural lowlands and mountain ranges shaped notions of indigeneity, national belonging, and diasporic ethnicity between the 19th and early 20th centuries. A segment of this project, which details a labor history of ethnological visuality in Luzon’s Mountain Provinces, is forthcoming in Radical History Review (2018).

Adrian is also a food historian and culinary ethnographer, having conducted research on migrant and working-class Filipinos in Honolulu, Manila, and Toronto. His article on transnational Chinese-Filipino urban foodways in Manila and North America was published in Gastronomica in 2016. Another article, co-authored with Daniel Bender, investigates the entanglements of militarism and culinary tourism in the Filipino culinary diaspora (Food, Culture & Society, 2018). Adrian also served as a project lead for the mobile app SALT (Scarborough, A Little Taste), which documents and presents Scarborough's migrant foodways for culinary tourists, and has also co-produced a short documentary film on sari-sari stores in Scarborough for Bell Fibe TV1. He often advises Toronto-based Filipino culinary initiatives, especially with the Philippine Consulate and other organizations. His academic and public work in Toronto’s Filipino community was awarded a Golden Balangay Award for Filipino Canadian Education Excellence in 2017.


Bordin-Gillette Fellowship, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan (2018)

Fulbright Scholarship to the United States (2017-2018)

Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship (2016-2019)

C.P. Stacey-Connaught Graduate Fellowship (2015)


De Leon, Adrian. “Working the Kodak Zone: The Labor Relations of Race and Photography in the Philippine Cordilleras, 1887-1914,” Radical History Review (October 2018).

Bender, Daniel E. and Adrian De Leon. “Everybody was Boodle Fighting: Military Histories, Culinary Tourism, and Diasporic Dining,” Food, Culture & Society (February 2018).

De Leon, Adrian. “Siopao and Power: The Place of Pork Buns in Manila’s Chinese History,” Gastronomica (2016).



  • Honours BA (Distinction) in English Literature, University of Toronto Scarborough
Photo of Adrian De Leon